In recent years there has been much scientific research carried out into the causes of hair loss and methods of reversing it. Now, US researchers have revealed that they may have found another piece of the puzzle.
A team of scientists from the prestigious Yale University have been carrying out experiments with mice into the causes of hair loss and the triggers for its growth. They say that they have found a link between fat cells in the skin and the production of hair by the follicles.
The researchers found that by injecting mice that had very little hair growth with ‘precursor’ fat cells, they could stimulate hair growth in the animals. They are hopeful that the same might be true in humans, and that if that is the case that it could be developed into a treatment to reverse hair loss.
Valerie Horsley, the study’s lead author, says that they have discovered that, “the fat cells are important for hair growth. If they’re not there, the hair won’t grow.”
The next step will be for the team to attempt to identify the equivalent cells in humans. Professor Horsley, who is Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale, said, “we don’t know for sure if it’s a cure for baldness, but I’m hopeful that we can get human cells to do the same as the mice.”
The researchers found that in mice which were defective – not producing precursor fat cells – the hair follicles remained in the dormant phase and would not grow. When they injected these mice with fat cells from healthy mice, the hair began to grow within a fortnight. Under examination, the researchers found that the injected fat cells were capable of producing ‘platelet-derived growth factor’ in quantities 100 times greater than nearby cells. Injecting the fat cells into the mice which suffered from hair loss resulted in up to 86% of hair follicles entering growing phase.
Is it a miracle cure?
In short, no. Despite a number of optimistic headlines, such as the Daily Mail’s ‘Jab to end baldness “ready in five years”’, this latest finding is merely one more clue in the wider picture of hair loss. The findings are clearly a promising avenue for the researchers, but in terms of any ‘miracle cure’, those suffering from hair loss should definitely not be holding their breath. First of all, it is not yet known whether the same effects will be found in humans, and secondly to derive a safe and successful treatment from the research could take many years, even decades.
It’s also not clear whether the fat cells would have any effect on follicles affected by genetic hair loss, as often in such cases, the problem is not that hair will not grow, it is that the hairs have become gradually smaller. This occurs when the naturally occurring enzyme 5-Alpha Reductase converts the male hormone testosterone into its derivative, dihydrotestosterone, which causes the follicles to shrink.
Do we really need a miracle cure for hair loss?
The fact of the matter is that there are already tried and trusted hair loss treatments for hair loss, whether it is caused by genetic factors as in the case of Male Pattern Baldness, or stress, as with Telogen Effluvium or Alopecia.
Propecia and Minoxidil are two pharmaceutical treatments which have been scientifically proven to be effective in reversing the effects of male pattern baldness, preventing further loss and even re-growing hair. Both of these treatments have been licensed for this purpose by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK, and approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Our experienced and committed hair loss experts use these treatments as part of a wider programme which is tailored to the needs of the individual. We have at our disposal a wide range of methods for treating hair loss, including clinical treatment, LaserCombs and nutritional supplements.
These treatment combinations have proven to be successful in thousands of cases… see our success stories for pictures and testimonials.
By choosing Belgravia, you can be sure that all the treatment you receive is based not only on proven science, but what has been shown to work time and time again. For more information about our hair loss treatments, please continue to browse our website or contact us for a consultation. Alternatively, fill in our online diagnostic form for a home-use treatment programme that we can post anywhere in the world.